Saturday, July 23, 2016


Herriman Saturday

December 2 1908 -- Herriman visits the horse racing out in Arcadia, the original Santa Anita race track, and caricatures some of the leading lights.


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Friday, July 22, 2016


History of Newspaper Syndicates by Elmo Scott Watson: Chapter 10, Bibliography & Appendix


The Newspaper Syndicate in American Journalism

The newspaper has been an American institution for 230 years. The syndicate, as a distinct enterprise, has a history of only 70 years.

Approximately 5,000 newspapers were being published in the United States when the syndicate idea became a reality in 1865. Their combined circulation was nearly 17,000,000. Today, a total of 13,700 newspapers, have an estimated circulation of almost 74,000,000.

In 1865 three small syndicates were in operation. They supplied only a limited amount of material, consisting mainly of news items, a story and miscellaneous matter which was little more than "filler." Today 130-odd syndicates offer the publisher more than 1,600 separate features which cover a wide range of topics and appeal to every interest of the newspaper reading public.

During the first 150 years of American journalism both the numbers of newspapers and their circulation gained slowly. But during the last 70 years there was a rapid increase in both, and in that increase the use of syndicated material played an important role. It reduced the cost of producing a newspaper and that encouraged the founding of new publications. The information, but more particularly the entertainment, which syndicated features afforded newspaper readers was a factor in increasing circulation during the early history of the enterprise and it is an even more important factor today.

The first great increase in the number of newspapers came in the decade from 1870 to 1880. In those ten years 5,484 new papers were started, three times as many as in the previous decade. The increase was particularly noticeable in the south and in the west.

It was the era of Reconstruction in the south. Thither northern "carpetbaggers" flocked to occupy public offices and to loot public treasuries. To sustain their corrupt administrations, it was necessary to establish a party press. So innumerable political organs sprang up overnight and were heavily subsidized from public funds.

Then, too, some of the more intelligent negroes, rejoicing in being freed men, expressed their consciousness of the altered status of their race by establishing newspapers to circulate among their people. The use of syndicated service in the form of readyprint was a convenient aid to issuing imposing-looking publications. Although such sheets could scarcely be dignified with the title of "newspaper," yet they did help swell the number of weeklies and were taken into account in the statistical data of the period.

The great increase in the number of newspapers in which syndicate service played a part, however, was in the west. The trans-Mississippi empire was rapidly opening up to settlement. "Boom towns," built along the route of proposed railroads, dotted the map. Local pride in these communities demanded that they have newspapers to cater to the optimistic belief of their citizens that their mushroom village would grow into a metropolis. So one of its first business establishments was invariably a newspaper office.

Sometimes this office was only a tent pitched along the main street which wandered crookedly through the collection of "soddies," log huts or one-story frame "false-fronts." In this canvas shelter the adventuring editor, equipped with an old Army press or a "G. Wash." and the traditional "shirttail-full of type," began operations as an exponent of frontier journalism. If the final railroad surveys revealed the fact that this future metropolis would not be on its route, "ye ed," like the other businessmen, loaded his equipment in a wagon and drove away to a new town site along the railroad right-of-way.

To such pioneering and peripatetic journalism, the readyprint was an invaluable aid and it was a life-saver to more than one publisher, struggling under the handicaps of inadequate equipment and an uncertain future. If he had had to depend upon local news and advertisements to fill his paper, it would have been little more than a two-page handbill. But with two, four, six and eight-page ready-prints available, he could get out a newspaper whose size suggested that it was published in a flourishing little city.

So the pioneer form of syndicate service helped to bring into existence hundreds of newspapers on the western frontier and the convenience and economy of the service encouraged the establishment of many new publications in the more settled parts of the east, south and middle west. In fact, the increasing number of weeklies during this period, made possible by syndicate service, resulted in an ominous prediction for the future of the country press by the editor of the Cleveland Herald. Declaring that rural journalism was deteriorating and laying the fault at the door of syndicate service the Herald said:

The "patent insides" and "patent outsides" have damaged it seriously by coaxing into feeble life a host of little rivals published in the smaller towns. Formerly in counties like Lake, Geauga, Portage, Summit and Trumbull there were but two papers—one of each party and sometimes a minority party failed to sustain an organ. Now, the small cost of issuing a paper on a "patent inside" or "outside" has encouraged the starting of new sheets at almost every petty village. Of course, they divide the total business of the county and draw away a part of the support of the older and larger journals.

They are a tax to the communities where they are published, but they gratify local pride, and if people choose to sustain them, nobody, least of all their hard-working and poorly paid publishers, ought to be blamed. No one can be fairly censured on their account. But the editors of the old reliable weeklies at the county seats or at the other large towns find their subscription lists shortened and their receipts from job printing greatly diminished because of them. They cut down expenses, discharge their local editors, get discouraged and relax that eternal vigilance which is the price of a good newspaper.

Immediately the editor of a country weekly, the Ravenna (Ohio) Republican Democrat, took up the cause of his brethren and declared that the competition of the city newspapers was the real cause of any definite decline in the country press because the city papers, with their big weekly editions made up from type saved from their daily editions, gave more reading matter than the country papers could hope to do. He continued:

The country weekly is irretrievably dwarfed. It has not the capital nor the power to cope with the strong financial newspaper printing combinations and corporations of the city. We have sometimes thought that but for the cooperative plan of publishing, the city weeklies would nearly, if not quite, root out the country weeklies—as it is, the latter have but comparatively a feeble, sickly existence and a hard struggle for life.

The editor of the Geauga (Ohio) Republican next took issue with his big city neighbor. He declared that the country press was improving rather than deteriorating and that syndicate service was the instrument by which this improvement was being accomplished. He said:

True, there may be more weak and half-supported sheets in existence now than formerly, as the whole number of all descriptions is increased, but the old-established ones have not only maintained their superiority but as a rule have been enlarged and otherwise improved. To prevent injurious competition from small papers printed on the so-called "patent" plan, their obvious policy is to adopt that plan, and thus secure its manifest advantages to themselves and they need sacrifice neither independence, pride nor originality in so doing.

The time has gone by, if there ever was such a time, when any considerable number of people would support the country paper merely for a sense of duty. It must be made self-sustaining by meeting the popular demand or it will languish; and that demand is now, more than ever before, for news, and in the country press especially, for local news. It need not be, and ought not be, a mere echo of the city press. But what the country press most needs is some plan whereby, while maintaining its own special features, it can combine with these enough of the essentials of a general newspaper to enable it most successfully to bear the competition of the city press. And this end is answered in the "patent insides and outsides," now so common.

The matter in these consisting chiefly in news, markets, etc., which is nearly the same in all papers, is such as cannot be printed so fully at home and is given in addition to all the other matter of the home paper. If it be objected that it is alike in all co-operative papers, as much may be said of the same departments of the Herald and Leader and all other city papers that keep up with the times.

If, therefore, there are poor papers printed on the cooperative plan, it is justly chargeable to the home management or support and not to the plan itself, which, if improved as it might be, would open a wider field of excellence and independence to the country press than it has ever yet known. Since country papers are a necessity and since the competition of the city papers from which we suffer cannot be prevented, if we are wise we will accept the inevitable and, discarding false pride, pursue the policy which will render that competition less injurious. The cooperative plan is a move in this direction and if the standard is not yet as high as it should be, a more general adoption by the better class of country papers will as surely raise it as supply follows demand.

During the next few years the service was "improved as it might be" and the syndicates offered to the publisher, through an economical and convenient medium of supply, a variety and quality of material that he could not possibly have given his readers otherwise. The addition of the stereotype plate, while it did not help increase the number of newspapers so noticeably as had the readyprint, did extend the popularity of syndicated material and aided in its widespread use, especially in the east.

The decade from 1880 to 1890 was marked by the greatest increase in the number of newspapers American journalism has ever known. They multiplied at the rate of two new publications every day during those ten years. But more significant were the soaring circulation figures during this decade and the next. From 1880 to 1890 more than 37,000,000 Americans became newspaper subscribers, as compared to less than 11,000,000 during the previous decade, and from 1890 to 1900 another 37,000,000 were added.

The principal factors in these phenomenal gains, which was indicative of what was coming during the next half century, were a vastly increased and better educated population, improved transportation, speedier means of communication, lower postal rates and cheaper paper. The rapidly-rising tide of culture and a keener interest in public affairs, coupled with greater prosperity and more leisure (now that the nation's pioneering was virtually ended) resulted in a never-ceasing demand on the newspapers for more and more reading matter to supplement the local and telegraphic news and editorials. The syndicate was the instrument by which they were able to meet that demand. By the turn of the century it had developed the four media of service through which it was able to supply the needs of every type of newspaper, from the smallest country weekly to the largest metropolitan daily.

During the three decades of the present century each ten-year period has witnessed even more phenomenal gains in circulation. During that time the syndicates have enlarged the scope of their operations, added to the variety of their features and adapted their service readily to changing public tastes. The part which they have played in the swift increase in the number of papers and in the phenomenal increase in newspaper circulation is impossible to state exactly. But the conclusion is inescapable that they must have had a tremendously important part in both. The fact that fully 90 percent of all newspapers in the United States now use syndicate service in one form or another is the best evidence of the position the syndicates hold in American journalism today. Certainly they, with the class of reading material which they supply, have done more than any other element in journalism to make the modern American newspaper "the people's library."

Another effect of the syndicate on American journalism has been the so-called "standardization" of newspapers because their use of its material results in a certain similarity of appearance and content. With every force in American life during the last half century showing a trend away from the individual and toward the standardized, it is not so unusual that journalism should reflect this tendency in its own development.

But the syndicate has been only one of the agents of newspaper standardization. Press associations share with it the responsibility for duplication of reading matter in our daily and weekly journals. If a subscriber in Maine and another in Oregon see the same comic strip, the same health talk and the same installment of a serial story, they also read the same cable dispatches about the war clouds hovering over Europe, the same story about the latest legislation passed by the congress in Washington and the same details of the kidnaping or murder mystery currently attracting nationwide attention.

The widespread use of syndicated material has had both unfavorable and favorable effects upon American newspapers. In some cases it undoubtedly has weakened editorial initiative by encouraging the publisher to neglect adequate coverage of local news and local features. If the knowledge that he can fill up his columns with syndicated material and still issue a full-size newspaper leads him to do so, then syndicate service has been used as a harmful influence in diverting the newspaper from one of its important roles—that of being a faithful mirror of its community.

On the other hand, intelligent use of syndicate service—the blending of its material with that produced by the newspaper's staff—makes for the type of well-rounded journal of news, information and entertainment which the modern American reader has come to believe his newspaper should be. The syndicate has enabled newspapers of every class to give their readers that "balanced ration" of mental food, and, through the cheap medium of the newspaper, has brought to the masses the stimulation of reading the words of outstanding leaders of thought in the world today. That fact, perhaps, has been the syndicate's greatest contribution to American journalism.


Andreas, A. T.—"History of Chicago," A. T. Andreas Company, Chicago, 1884-86.
Bleyer, Willard Grosvenor—"Main Currents in the History of American Journalism," Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, 1927.
Bok, Edward W.—"The Americanization of Edward Bok." Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1930.
Bowers, Claude G.—"The Tragic Era," Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1929.
Cochran, N. D.—"E. W. Scripps," Harcourt-Brace, New York.
Crockett, Walter Hill.—"Vermont-The Green Mountain State," The Century Historical Company, Inc., New York, 1921.
Gardner, Gilson—"Lusty Scripps," Vanguard Press, New York.
Kellogg, Ansel N.—"Kellogg's Auxiliary Hand-Book." A. N. Kellogg Company, Chicago, 1878.
McClure, S. S.—"My Autobiography," Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1914.
McRae, M. A.—"Forty Years in Newspaperdom," Brentano, New York.
O'Brien, Frank C.—"The Story of The Sun," D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1914.
Rosewater, Victor.—"History of Co-Operative News Gathering in the United States," D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1928.
Rowel], George P.—"Forty Years an Advertising Agent," Printers' Ink Publishing Company, New York, 1906.
Young, John F.—"Journalism in California," Chronicle Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1915.

Annual Directory of Features, Editor and Publisher, New York, 1935.
Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1928-1935.
Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals, N. W. Ayer and Son, Inc., Philadelphia, 1935.
Encyclopedia Americana, Americana Corporation, New York and Chicago, 1929.
International Year Book Number of Editor and Publisher, Editor and Publisher Company, New York, 1935.
National Cyclopedia of American Biography, James T. White and Company, New York, 1892.
Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society for 1913-14, Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier, Vt.
Wisconsin Historical Collections, Wisconsin State Historical Society, Madison, Wis.


Dill, William A.—"Growth of Newspapers in the United States," Department of Journalism, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 1928.
Watson, Elmo Scott—"History of Auxiliary Newspaper Service in the United States," Illini Publishing Company, Champaign, 111., 1923.
Bulletins and other printed matter issued by the various syndicates.


American Newspaper Reporter and Printer's Gazette, New York, 1875.
American Press, New York, various dates.
Editor and Publisher, New York, various dates.
Fourth Estate, New York, various dates.
National Printer-Journalist, Milwaukee, Wis., and Springfield, Ill., various dates.
Newsdom, New York, various dates.
The Publishers' Auxiliary, Chicago, Ill., various dates.


Adams, George Matthew, "George Matthew Adams Started Syndicate on a Shoestring," Editor and Publisher, Julv 21, 1934.
Benet, Stephen Vincent, "The Story of the United Press," Fortune, May, 1933.
Clark, Neil M., "Patterson Helps to Edit Twelve Thousand Newspapers," American Magazine, October, 1927.
McClure, S. S., "And McClure Tells How He Did It," Editor and Publisher, July 21, 1934.
McNitt, V. V., "Sam McClure Started Something," Editor and Publisher, July 21, 1934.
Waldo, Richard H., "The Genius of S. S. McClure," Editor and Publisher, July 21, 1934.
Wheeler, John N., "Selling Other Men's Brains," Saturday Evening Post, March 10, 1928.

Edson, J. M.—Unpublished "History of the A. N. Kellog Newspaper Company," Chicago, 111., circa 1890.
Account books and manuscript records of the A. N. Kellogg Newspaper Company, the Chicago Newspaper Union, the Aikens Newspaper Union, the New York Newspaper Union, the Union Printing Company, the Vicksburg Newspaper Union, the Atlanta Newspaper Union and the Western Newspaper Union.


Beals, James H., former owner of the New York Newspaper Union.
Bacheller, Irving, former owner of the Bacheller-Johnson New York Press Syndicate.
Carr, M. L., assistant editor of Newspaper Enterprise Association.
Conley, E. P., former co-owner of Associated Editors.
Connolly, J. V., president of King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Elser, Maximilian, Jr., manager of the Metropolitan Newspaper Service.
Ferril, Will C, editor of the Colorado Herald, Denver.
Fish, H. H., president of the Western Newspaper Union.
Grant, John D., managing editor of the Western Newspaper Union.
Graves, Ralph H., manager, Doubleday-Doran Syndicate.
Hallock, W. W., Eastern advertising manager of the Western Newspaper Union.
Hicks, Wilson, executive editor of the Associated Press News Feature Service.
Howard, Edward P., editor of the American Press.
Kilgallen, James L., King Features. Syndicate, Inc.
Martin, Henry P., Jr., manager of the Des Moines Register and Tribune Syndicate.
McMillen, M. H., formerly with the Kansas Newspaper Union and now manager of the Chicago office of Western Newspaper Union.
McNitt, V. V., manager of the McNaught Syndicate, Inc.
Millar, John H., former co-owner of Associated Editors.
Miller, Howard E., president of the International Syndicate.
Miner, H. W., editor of the Ledger Syndicate.
Patterson, Wright A., editor-in-chief of the Western Newspaper Union.
Slosson, Edward E., director of Science Service, Inc.
Smith, Courtland, American Press Association.
Wheeler, John N., general manager of the North American Newspaper Alliance; president of the Bell Syndicate, Inc.; Associated Newspapers and Consolidated News Features.

In addition to those listed above, the author acknowledges his indebtedness to his wife, Julia Seldomridge Watson, for her untiring assistance in the preparation of this study; to Edward C. Johnston of Western Newspaper Union, New York, Josef F. Wright of the University of Illinois and Miss Ruth Morton of Milwaukee, Wis., for aid in getting some of the pictures reproduced in the book; to Frank Schock of Western Newspaper Union, Chicago, for the loan of the Edson manuscript and of the picture of his father, James J. Schock; to Mrs. Willet Spooner of Milwaukee, Wis., for the loan of a photograph of her great-uncle, Horace E. Rublee; to Lawrence W. Murphy of the University of Illinois and Charles A. Wright of Temple university for suggesting additional source material; and to many others who have rendered minor, but nonetheless appreciated, service in the preparation of this history.


A Directory of Newspaper Syndicates in the United States (compiled from the Ayer Newspaper Directory for 1936 and Editor and Publisher International Year Book Number for 1936.)

George Matthew Adams Service, 444 Madison Ave., New York.
American Features Syndicate, 1925 E. 17th St., Brooklyn, N. Y.
American Feature Writers Syndicate, 545 Fifth Ave., New York.
American Motion Picture Review Service, 472 Russ Bldg., San Francisco, Calif.
American News Features, Inc., 420 Lexington Ave., New York.
Associated Newspapers, 247 W. 43rd St., New York.
Associated Press Feature Service, 383 Madison Ave., New York.
Associated Publishers, Inc., Republic Bldg., Louisville, Ky.
Authenticated News Service, P. O. Box 326, Hollywood, Calif.
Banner Newspaper Service, 111 Westminster St., Providence, R. I.
Bell Syndicate, Inc., 247 W. 43rd St., New York.
Better Features, Box 173, Middletown, Ohio.
Bond-Barclay Syndicate, 3160 Kensington Ave., Philadelphia.
Brookings Institution, 722 Jackson PI., Washington, D. C.
Burba Service, Box 1046, Dayton, Ohio.
Business Feature Service, Room 1140 Merchandise Mart, Chicago.
Cambridge Associates, Inc., 174 Newbury St., Boston, Mass.
Central Press Association, Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York; 1435 E. 12th St., Cleveland, Ohio.
Joe Mitchell Chappie, Inc., 952 Dorchester Ave., Boston, Mass.
Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, Inc., News Building, New York; Tribune Tower, Chicago.
Cleveland Syndicate, 10609 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio.
Grady W. Coble, P. O. Box 203, Greensboro, N. C.
Consolidated Information Service, 280 Broadway, New York.
Consolidated News Features, 280 Broadway, New York.
Continental Feature Syndicate, P. O. Box 326, Hollywood, Calif.
Courier-Journal and Times Syndicate, Times Bldg., Louisville, Ky.
Curtis Features Syndicate, 45 W. 45th St., New York.
Devil Dog Syndicate, 33 Delmonico Pl., Brooklyn, N. Y.
Dench Business Features, Ho-Ho-Kus, N. J.
Distinctive Newspaper Features, P. O. Box 65, Hamilton, Ohio.
Donner's Fashion Service, 200 W. 54th St., New York.
Doubleday-Doran Syndicate, Garden City, N. Y.
Duplex Newspaper Service Co., Inc., 41 West 45th St., New York.
Eagle Syndicate, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Editor's Copy, Orangeburg, S. C.
Ellis Service, Swarthmore, Pa.
Escobar Feature Syndicate, 123 East Pico, Los Angeles, Calif.
European Picture Service, 353 Fifth Ave., New York.
Fact Feature Syndicate, 649 Macon St., Brooklyn, N. Y.
Famous Features Syndicate, 230 Park Ave., New York.
Fashion Coordinator, 247 Park Ave., New York.
Feature News Service (New York Times), 229 W. 43rd St., New York.
Fine Arts Syndicate, P. O. Box 852, Chicago.
Gallup Research Service, 30 N. La Salle, Chicago.
Gilliams Service, Inc., 225 W. 39th St., New York.
Gordon Feature Syndicate, 1015 Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio.
Gruber Service, 4 E. 53rd St., New York.
Handy Filler Service, 401 Russ Bldg., San Francisco, Calif.
Fred Harman Features, 1509 North Vine St., Hollywood, Calif.
Harper Features, P. O. Box 1016 or 1615 Royal St., Dallas, Texas.
Haskin Service, Washington, D. C.
Henle Syndicate, 2017 W. Clinch St., Knoxville, Tenn.
Hollywood Press Syndicate, 6605 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Calif.
Holmes Feature Service, 135 Garrison Ave., Jersey Citv, N. J.
Hosterman Syndicate, Inc., Springfield, Ohio.
Albert Crawford Hurst Features, 2114 Westgate Drive, Houston, Texas.
Independent Syndicate, Inc., Ouray Bldg., Washington, D. C.
Inter-American Newspaper Syndicate, 31-33 E. 27th St., New York.
Intercity News Service, Bond Bldg., Washington, D. C; 63 Park Row, New York.
International Feature Service, 235 E. 45th St., New York.
International Press Bureau, 330 S. Wells St., Chicago.
International Religious News Service, 1831 Sheldon Rd. E. , Cleveland, Ohio.
International Syndicate, 1615-1617 Guilford Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Johnson Feature Service, Exchange Bldg., Memphis, Tenn.; 185 Church St., New Haven, Conn.
Jordan Syndicate, 201 Albee Bldg., Washington, D. C.
Will Judy Press Syndicate, Judy Bldg., Chicago.
Junior Feature Syndicate, 505 Fifth Ave., New York.
Kay Features, Inc., 420 Lexington Ave., New York.
King Features Syndicate, Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York.
Arthur J. Lafave, 2042 E. 4th St., Cleveland, Ohio.
David Lawrence Syndicate, 2201 M. St., N. W., Washington, D. C.
Ledger Syndicate, Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pa.
Los Angeles Times, Times Bldg., Los Angeles.
Magazine Feature Service, Room 1140, Merchandise Mart, Chicago.
Matz Unique Service, 523 Weiser, Reading, Pa.
Maywood Syndicate, Sidney Center, N. Y.
McClure Newspaper Syndicate, 345 Hudson St., New York.
McCoy Health Service, McCoy Bldg., Los Angeles, Calif.
McNaught Syndicate, Inc., 1475 Broadway, New York.
Metropolitan Newspaper Feature Service, 220 E. 42nd St., New York.
Midland Feature Service, 35 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago.
Modern Features Syndicate, 134 W. 31st St., New York.
L. J. Mordell Newspaper Features. 420 Lexington Ave., New York.
National Feature Service, 4035 New Hampshire Ave., Washington, D. C.
National News-Feature Syndicate, 51 E. 42nd St., New York.
National Newspaper Service 326 W. Madison St., Chicago.
National News Service, Inc., 3727 N. 17th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
NEA Service, Inc., 1200 W. 3rd St., Cleveland. Ohio; 461 Eighth Ave., New York.
N. E. Newspaper Service, 755 Boylston St., Boston, Mass.
Newspaper Features, Inc., 1530 Healey Bldg., Atlanta, Ga.
Newspaper Feature Service, 235 E. 45th St., New York.
Newspaper Information Service, Inc., 1322 New York Ave., Washington, D. C.
News-Week Syndicate Service, Rockefeller Center, New York.
New York Herald Tribune Syndicate, 230 West 41st St., New York.
New York Post Syndicate, 75 West St., New York.
Nick Nichols Syndicate, Times Bldg., Chicago.
North American Newspaper Alliance, Inc., 247 W. 43rd St., New York.
Nu-Way Features, 4545 Beacon St., Chicago.
O'Connor Features Service, 472 Russ Bldg., San Francisco, Calif.
Oil Features Syndicate, P. O. Box 1880, Houston, Texas.
Outdoor World Syndicate, North Chattanooga, Tenn.
Pan-Hellenic American Foreign Press Syndicate, 1228 Park Row Bldg., New York.
Penn Feature Syndicate, 2417 N. 15th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Premier Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York.
Progressive Features, 905 North Fifth St., Springfield, Ill.
Publishers Autocaster Service, 225 W. 39th St., New York.
Publishers Financial Bureau, Babson Park, Mass.
Publishers Syndicate, 30 N. La Salle St., Chicago.
Rayburn's Odd-Way Service, Sulphur Springs, Texas.
Register & Tribune Syndicate, Des Moines, Iowa.
Albert T. Reid Syndicate, 103 Park Ave., New York.
Religious Copy Service, 2715 Overbrook Terrace, Ardmore, Pa.
Russell Service, Hartford, Conn.
Science Service, 21st and Constitution Ave., N. W., Washington, D. C.
Scriptural Research Bureau of Hollywood, 332 N. Orlando, Hollywood, Calif.
Seeba Feature Syndicate, 247 Park Ave., New York.
Service for Authors, Inc., 280 Broadway, New York.
Wm. Southern, Jr., Independence, Mo.
Standard Editorial Service, 440 Woodward Bldg., Washington, D. C.
Standard Press Association, 755 Boylston St., Boston.
Sterling Features Syndicate "Garden Gossip," 136 16th St., Denver, Colo.
W. Orton Tewson Syndicate, 420 Riverside Drive, New York.
Thomasson's Feature Service, Minneapolis, Minn.
Thompson Service, 818 Oak St., Cincinnati, Ohio.
Times Syndicate, Times Bldg., Los Angeles, Calif.
Tomkins Syndicate, Box 17, Point Loma, Calif.
Triangle Newspaper Syndicate,136 E. 64th St., New York.
Triton Syndicate, Inc., Capital National Bank Bldg., Hartford, Conn.
Ullman Feature Service, Woodward Bldg., Washington, D. C.
United Feature Syndicate, Inc., 220 East 42nd St., New York.
Universal Service, 235 E. 45th St., New York.
Christy Walsh Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York.
Walters Feature Service, 320 E. 45th St., New York.
Washington Post News Service, Washington, D. C.
Watkins Syndicate, Inc., 705 Lewis Tower, Philadelphia.
W. E. Features Service, P. O. Box 326, Hollywood, Calif.
Western Newspaper LTnion, 210 S. Desplaines St., Chicago.
Woman's Page Copy, Plymouth, Ind.
World Color Printing Co., 420 De Soto Ave., St. Louis, Mo.
World Feature Service, 220 East 42nd St., New York.
World-Wide News Service, Inc., 56 Bellevue St., Newton, Mass.
Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.
Zain Features Syndicate, Inc., Chrysler Bldg., New York.
Zak Zook Syndicate, Liverpool, Pa.


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Thursday, July 21, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: Cuppy the Newsboy

Cartoonist Joe Appalucci broke into newspaper syndication with the George Matthew Adams Syndicate in 1962 with a daily panel about a newspaper carrier. Many newspaper editors have a soft spot for features about the newspaper business, even tangentially like this, and Cuppy the Newsboy found just enough clients to get out of the gate.

The gags were frankly lukewarm and the art just so-so, but as a hole-filler in the classified section or such, it was perfectly fine. A few oddities about the art I can't help but mention. First, Appalucci's title character strikes me as looking like a paunchy senior citizen, and his girlfriend like a middle-aged hausfrau, but they were indeed supposed to be kids. Second, the unusual panel borders, which Appalucci smartly added to make his feature stand out a bit, remind me of nothing more than razor wire -- ouch!

Cuppy the Newsboy (which was advertised in E&P as Cuppy the Newspaperboy) ran from October 8 1962 until March 7 1964. Appalucci had already sold George Matthew Admas another feature, The Byrds, in 1963, and presumably it was doing well enough that Cuppy got his retirement papers.

Thanks to Mark Johnson for the samples!


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Sol Hess

Solomon Henry “Sol” Hess was born in Somonauk, Illinois, on October 14, 1872, according to Illinois death index at In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Hess was the fourth of five children born to Levi, a livestock dealer, and Henrietta (Schulheimer). His father was German and his mother Bavarian. The family resided in Northville, Illinois. Sometime after the census, Hess’s father died.

The New York Times, January 1, 1942, said “Hess’s formal education was limited to the first six years of grammar school.”

Hess’s mother was listed as a widow in the 1891 Chicago, Illinois, city directory. The family’s address was 88 Seeley Avenue. Hess has not yet been found in the 1900 census.

In 1905, Hess, Henry G. Rettig and Axel E. Madsen voted to change the name of the corporation, H.G. Rettig and Company, to Rettig, Hess & Madsen. Three consecutive notices were published in The National Corporation Reporter on June 1, 8 and 15. 

The Cook County, Illinois marriage index recorded Hess’s marriage to Mrs. Rae Hoffman on October 7, 1908. According to the 1910 census, Hess, his wife and five-year-old step-daughter, Bertha, lived in Chicago at 4911 Prairie Avenue. His occupation was watch salesman.

On September 11, 1918, Hess signed his World War I draft card which had his home address, 5430 Indiana in Chicago. Hess was the manager of the wholesale watch company, Rettig, Hess & Madsen. His description was medium height and build with brown eyes and gray hair.

Hess’s entry into comics was told in the book, I’ve Got News for You (1961) by John Wheeler and Ring Lardner.

One association that ended up profitably all around began in Stillson’s, the hangout for Chicago Tribune staffers opposite the old Tribune building in the Chicago Loop. Sol Hess was a Chicago jeweler who liked to associate with newspapermen and pay the tabs, so he was welcome. Among those he met in this rendezvous were Ring Lardner, Clare Briggs, John McCutcheon, and a struggling cartoonist, Sid Smith.…

When he met Hess, he met a fortune, for Hess had a new idea for a strip which combined continuity and humor. It was called “The Gumps” and almost immediately was a great success. Sol wrote the balloons as a labor of love and for the privilege of hanging around with the newspaper crowd….
When Smith’s contract ended with the Tribune, he got a new contract for a huge sum and a Rolls Royce. Smith offered Hess $200 a week to continue writing but Hess threatened to quit.

Hess appeared in The Gumps, January 14, 1920.

Wheeler heard about Hess’s unhappiness and explained what he did.
I heard of this situation by the grapevine, and rushed to Chicago to talk to the erstwhile ghost writer….He had in mind a strip, “The Nebbs,” which had the same pattern and his sparkling humor. We hired a young artist named Wally Carlson to do the drawing. I guaranteed Hess 60 per cent against a guarantee of $800 a week. After we had signed the contract, I didn’t know whether I had made a bad deal or not, but we had to gamble in those days….

Bridgeport Telegram 5/16/1923

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said The Nebbs began May 21, 1923. Hess wrote the Sunday toppers Dizzy Doings, from April 1936 to 1938; and Simp O’Dill, from February 24, 1929 to 1941. After Hess’s death in 1941, his daughter and son-in-law wrote the strip and the toppers, Simp O’Dill, from 1941 to 1947; and Gag Bag, from June 6, 1943 to 1949.

Ron Goulart’s The Funnies: 100 Years of American Comic Strips (1995) explained the origin of the names of the strip and main character.

“The name Nebb had been used a number of times in The Gumps,” Hess told [Martin] Sheridan. “It comes from the Jewish word ‘nebich,’ a reference of contempt for a ‘port sap.’ The name Rudy was very popular at that time, at least its distinguished owner was, so we chose the famous movie idol Valentino’s first name.” Rudy Nebb was similar in looks and attitude to Andy Gump, except he was not chinless. He had a plump, goodhearted wife named Fanny, a teenage daughter, and a preteen son called Junior….
The Nebbs was populated with people known to Hess. In the Evening Repository (Canton, Ohio), March 5, 1929, Albert M. Dueber recalled Hess’s early days in business.
…Dueber, formerly with the Dueber-Hampden company, not only knows Sol Hess and several of the characters very well, but in addition has been included in the column on several occasions as have his daughters, Josephine Dueber and Mary Jane Dueber Farrell.

“I first met Sol Hess about 30 years ago in Chicago,” Mr. Dueber relates.

“At that time he was errand boy in a jewelry store which was on my list and we became very good friends. He finally obtained his own store and was a jobber for Dueber-Hampden watches.

“Our salesman in the Chicago territory was Earl Stamm and he and Hess established a friendship. It is Earl Stamm’s son, John, who is the attorney representing Sylvia Appleby in the cartoon. The boy now is in college in Chicago.

“Practically all of Hess’ characters are from real life. He is clowning his friends in most cases and many of his pictures of them are true to life.”
Hess was a Chicago resident. The 1920 census said Hess was a wholesale jeweler who resided at 614 East 51st Street. According to the 1930 census, Hess and his wife lived in Shoreland Hotel at 5454 South Shore Drive. His occupation was cartoonist. Hess’s residence and occupation were the same in the 1940 census.

Hess passed away December 31, 1941, in Chicago, as reported the following day by the Chicago Daily Tribune.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: Elmer Squee

When Dick Brooks went into the Navy his art background came in handy when he decided he'd like to commemorate the experiences of a mild young man, having signed up for the Navy right after Pearl Harbor, goes through training and out to sea. The cartoon panel, titled Elmer Squee, found a very eager audience of landlubbers, curious about anything military, when it was published in book form by McMillan in 1942.

After the war, Dick Brooks found work in the bullpen at King Features Syndicate. When he heard that a strip was about to be dropped by the syndicate, he submitted a 'civilian-ized' Elmer Squee strip. Although the syndicates were awash in military strips trying to remain interesting to a suddenly demilitarized nation, for some reason King decided to take on Elmer Squee. It may have helped that Brooks was a very fine cartoonist, and Elmer had sort of an Archie Andrews sort of vibe -- a character who was hot in post-war comic books and in newspaper strips.

Elmer Squee debuted as a Sunday-only strip on September 8 1946, but was an utter flop in sales. I'm not sure that it ever appeared in a paper outside of the Hearst chain, and even very few of them used it. Despite the lack of sales, the strip continued until August 28 1949, quite a respectable run for an undeniable sales flop.

Although I don't recall having seen them for myself, I am told that the Elmer Squee strip eventually added  twin teenage girls as characters. These became the main characters of Brooks' next strip, which was a sales success for almost thirty years -- The Jackson Twins


The Elmer Squee Sunday strip made it to Sweden and Denmark at the end of the 40s. In Sweden this was one of many American Sunday strips in the weekly comic book Karl-Alfred (the Swedish title for Popeye). Each strip in the comic book had a full page or a half page, similar to the funnies in an American Sunday comic section. The Elmer Squee strip title was “Pelle Piccolo”, and was a part of the content from issue number 13, 1949 until number 24, 1950. Karl-Alfred was a co-production with the Danish comic book Skipper Skræk (Danish title for Popeye), and the strip was published in Denmark as well, from number 23, 1949 to number 34, 1950. In Denmark the strip title was “John Pikkolo”.
I’m going to publish something about this shortly in my blog
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Monday, July 18, 2016


Can You ID This Mystery Artist?

I was just contacted by a researcher who is writing a book on female war correspondents of WWII. As a tangential part of that project, she is trying to identify the cartoonist/illustrator "Irwin" who provided the illustrations for some newspaper articles. I could not ID the artist for her, and now throw the matter open to you folks, the real brains of this operation.

All the illustrations are from 1943 articles syndicated by Hearst's International News Service, so I'm assuming it was someone working in their bullpen.

compare the 'Irwin' with Irwin Hasen's signature.

I don't know if we can place him on a Hearst originated project, but he was editing an army camp newspaper at the time.
but then, Fort Dix NJ was hardly far away and go-to guys would have been thin on the ground in 1943.
the style doesn't tell us yay or nay as his Green Lantern doesn't look much like his Dondi.
Hi Eddie --
I kinda felt Hasen was eliminated based on his not usually signing as "Irwin" and him being in the military at the time. But if he spent the war at Ft. Dix, he was certainly in range, as you say. And he might have been worried about signing his name while in the military -- I guess they might have looked down their noses at moonlighting. So I'm prepared to take that ID as a very distinct possibility.

As you say, Hasen was enough of a chameleon that the style difference doesn't eliminate him. In fact even these samples above are in two very different styles.

Thanks, Allan and Eddie. Looks like it is Hasen.

See his signature here, too, off of a print selling at eBay right now.

I'll keep looking for examples of his war-time work. It looks like he did do freelance work during the war, as well as work editing the Fort Dix Post.

I have an inquiry pending with Ohio's collection, which is not fully processed and may have more leads. I'll keep you posted if you are interested.

And, Allan, I replied to you by email as well.

Thanks again!
P.S. There's a great interview with Hasen (which was one reason I first thought it wasn't his work, because he doesn't mention writing for Hearst/INS and his signature line in the book appears as "Hasen") in The Alter Ego Collection, and now that I'm rereading/reconsidering it, it doesn't rule him out after all. Here's the link to the Google book.
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